Escherichia spp.

  • Douglas I. Johnson


  • Genomics:
    • Detailed phylogeny is based on the sequence analysis of more than 180 Escherichia coli genomes (Kaas et al. 2012):
      • Core genome: 3,051 homology gene clusters (HGCs) present in 95% of all genomes; 1,702 HGCs in 100% of all genomes.

      • Pan genome: 16,373 HGCs.

      • Pathogen genomes can contain up to 1 Mb more DNA than commensal isolates; extra DNA is associated with the gain of virulence factors through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) mechanisms and the loss of virulence factors through mutational pathoadaptivity (Croxen et al. 2013).

    • Escherichia coli K-12 strain MG1655 chromosome: 4,639,221 bp; 4,288 predicted ORFs (Blattner et al. 1997).

    • Escherichia coli O157:H7 strain EDL933 chromosome: 5,547,323 bp; 5,498 predicted ORFs (Perna et al. 2001).

    • Escherichia coli O104:H4 stx2-positive strain 2011C-3493 chromosome: 5,273,097 bp; 4,963 predicted ORFs (Ahmed et al. 2012).

  • Cell morphology:
    • Rod-shaped cells (Fig. 15.1)

    • Can be motile or nonmotile:
      • Peritrichous flagella (H antigens); more than 50 H variants (Zhou et al. 2015).

      • Flagellar motility plays an important role in certain pathotypes (UPEC); also important for biofilm formation.

  • Gram stain:
    • Gram negative

  • Growth:
    • Facultative anaerobes; oxidase negative.

    • Reservoirs:
      • Part of the normal microbiota of the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and other warm-blooded animals

      • Fecal-contaminated food and water

    • Excellent biofilm formers (see below).

    • Eight species; E. coli is the major human pathogen.

    • E. coli pathotype classification: based on disease states and virulence genes:
      • Diarrheagenic pathotypes:
        • AIEC: adherent invasive E. coli

        • DAEC: diffusely adherent E. coli

        • EAEC: enteroaggregative E. coli

        • EHEC: enterohemorrhagic E. coli; subset of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC)

        • EIEC: enteroinvasive E. coli; phylogenetically almost identical to Shigella spp.; uses same virulence mechanisms although EIEC shows reduced virulence and expression of virulence factors; discussed in more detail in Chap.  28 Shigella spp.

        • EPEC: enteropathogenic E. coli

        • ETEC: enterotoxigenic E. coli

      • Extraintestinal pathotypes; extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC):
        • UPEC: uropathogenic E. coli

        • NMEC: neonatal meningitis E. coli


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas I. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & Molecular GeneticsUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

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